Reigning Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is on the brink of committing his long-term future to Mercedes, quashing rumours regarding a potential move to Ferrari by insisting a new contract is “99.6 per cent done.”
As noted by Jonathan McEvoy of the Daily Mail, the Scuderia president Sergio Marchionne is a big admirer of the British driver, but when asked about the prospect of donning the iconic all-red, Hamilton provided an emphatic retort.
“No, don’t be silly. My contract at Mercedes should be done this week,” said the Stevenage-born star, per McEvoy’s piece. “There’s no reason why not. Honestly, it’s 99.6 per cent done.”
According to the aforementioned article, it’s a deal that will see Hamilton earn in excess of his current annual £20 million salary, but it won’t eclipse the gargantuan yearly wage of £35 million Ferrari will pay to have four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel in the cockpit.
Nonetheless, as noted by BBC Sport, the Brit will still be earning a rather substantial amount:
The British driver has been a roaring success with his current employers ever since signing from McLaren in 2013, with Mercedes enjoying an emphatic stranglehold at the top of both the drivers' and constructors' championships in 2014.
But after Vettel’s win in Malaysia last time out, it looks as though they may face some much sterner competition this year.
As noted in McEvoy’s piece, Hamilton doesn’t think the result was an anomalous one:
I don’t think they were lucky or it was a fluke. There’s always talk that they are easier on their tyres.
I think we’ll manage. We’ve got a great group of people, a great approach, and from this we’ll take a step back.
Second for me and third for Nico (Rosberg) is still good but they’re too close to us in the championship, so we’ll work very hard to analyse. It was not a kick; it was a pinch. We have now got a race on our hands.
It’s little surprise to see Hamilton willing to extend his stay at Mercedes. The car provided for the British driver remains the standout machine on the grid and in Nico Rosberg—while the two have endured a volatile relationship at times—he has a competitive team-mate that seems to push him toward even headier heights.
Leading the championship and with a bumper new contract imminent, things couldn’t be better for Hamilton at the moment. And while Mercedes remain the dominant force on the grid, with signs of life from Ferrari and Vettel, things could be about to get a whole lot more entertaining for fans of the sport too.